?Legion? fills drug-dog void for Marion Police Dept.

Marion Police Officer Mike Stone and his new K-9 partner, Legion, demonstrate the male German shepherd?s recovery skills. Stone and his wife contributed about $3,300 to bring the dog to Marion after its predecessor, Ana, was assigned to civilian life after seven months of duty. An additional $1,200 was raised through donations.The Marion City Police Department recently added a new officer to the force: an 11-month-old male German shepherd named Legion.

His predecessor, Ana, was Police Officer Mike Stone?s K-9 partner, but Stone said she was forced to resign after seven months because of aggression issues.

?The problem with Ana was that she was so protective and vicious if anything came into the mix when I was handling her,? he said.

While working alone, Stone said he didn?t have any problems. But if Ana was on a leash with him and another dog or person came around?especially a dog?she became aggressive.

Marion Police Chief Tyler Mermis and Stone discussed those concerns, then decided Ana wasn?t working out.

?Based on the totality of everything, Ana wasn?t the right dog for the job,? Stone said, adding the decision was a hard one.

?She was part of our lives for seven months and it was tough on me and my family,? he said.

Ana was donated to the department, but when the time came to find her a new home, Stone said he was concerned about selling her to just anyone.

?We were able to find Ana a home in Kansas with another police officer,? he said.

Stone said the search was launched to find another police dog with positive attributes for the department and community.

Stone said he promised the city a police dog and believed he still owed them one after Ana didn?t work out.

Acquiring Legion cost $4,500 for everything, he said. Stone said the department received about $1,200 in donations, but Stone and his wife paid the remaining $3,300.

Encouragement

?It is just amazing how the community was so understanding,? he said. ?We had Raven (who suffered from hip dysplasia), then Ana, and throughout it all, everyone was supportive.?

He credit Mermis, Assistant Chief Clint Jeffrey, Mayor Mary Olson and city council members for their support.

?It?s a great group of people,? he said.

Stone said a police officer can go through three, four or five dogs before finding one that works for them.

?It is unfortunate when, in a small town like ours, we are trying to make a difference but we don?t have a lot of revenue,? he said. ?Our hands are kind of tied.?

But Stone said he wasn?t going to fail.

?Failure wasn?t even an option for us,? he said. ?We were going to have a (new) dog.?

Near perfect

Legion?s work ethic is excellent, Stone said.

?He is such a good animal. When it?s time to work, he is just as focused as focused can be.?

He added: ?We don?t do short searches. We will do a couple of buildings, send him in on an area search, do a couple of cars and go to the feedlot and bury narcotics under hay or manure.

?He?s proven to be just perfect. We couldn?t ask for a better dog.?

Stone said Legion is big, good-natured and passive-alert.

?Ana was aggressive and would scratch (when detecting drugs), but Legion sits?or if it?s a low find, he will lay down.?

Legion was certified in patrol work two weeks ago, according to Stone. Four days later, the dog discovered marijuana and other narcotics in a vehicle.

A social animal, Legion will soon be introduced at the schools or for demonstrations.

?He is a fabulous dog and we couldn?t ask for a better one,? Stone said.

For more information about scheduling demonstrations or other questions, call the police department at 620-382-2651.

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